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with a friend with a k-47. he was a key power broker in the fight with the taliban. we're live from kabul. it's tuesday, july 12th. let's get right to the first reads of the morning. we start with the deadlock. this afternoon the two sides are farther apart than they've ever been. they were farther apart yesterday when -- then they were even sunday and farther apart sunday then they were thursday. the question is whether the daily meetings are going to continue. the president said he's shooting for the biggest possible deal and asking if not now, when. listen. >> we think it's hard now. imagine how these guys are going to be thinking six months from now in the middle of election season when they are all up. it's not going to get easier, it's going to get harder. we might as well do it now. pull off the band-aid. eat our peas. >> also in the room, eric cantor laid out what was agreed to in the biden talks, which is about $1.5 trillion in cuts, still nearly a trillion dollars short of the amount required to finance a debt deal through 2012. republicans said it needs to be dollar for dollar. the
hamid karzai has been assassinated in his own home by a bodyguard hired by the taliban. president karzai says his brother's death is a pain he shares with all afghans. the taliban statement says karzai was, "punished for all his wrong doing." >>> a mid-air miracle. two small planes flying over an alaskan mountain corridor. they managed to land safely. the cessna hit the tail of a piper navajo. no one was hurt. this is unregulated air space. >>> it's the land space walk of the shuttle era. it's not "atlantis" astronauts conducting it. space station residents are venturing out to remove a broken pump. the 13-day flight by "atlantis" is the last for nasa's 30-year long shuttle program. >>> michelle obama and three former first ladies among those heading to california for betty ford's funeral today. a second funeral will be held on thursday in michigan where she will be buried after a private service at the gerald ford museum. mrs. ford who is the widow of the former president died at age 93. rumors of the death of hugh hefner had been circulating on twitter and facebook. they are not true.
making against the taliban as well as al qaeda. as well as $800 million in assistance could be suspended. this could cause some major problems. if pakistan takes tougher action, the aid could resume. mean while, defense secretary leon panetta is in afghanistan. panetta is meeting with american military leaders and afghan officials. nbc's atia abawi is in kabul this morning. bring us up to speed on what leon panetta is saying that al qaeda is basically on the run and close to being completely stamped out. >> reporter: good morning, thomas. the new secretary of defense's first trip as the defense secretary here in afghanistan, prior to arriving he talked to reporters on the plane about how he feels alg al qaeda is going right now, the war against terror. he says the strategic defeat of al qaeda is within reach, primarily pointing the the death of bin laden, the information they got from the compound including names of different key al qaeda leaders. he says this is the time to actually end the war with al qaeda. let's listen to what he had to say. >> now is the moment following what happen
reflects the suffering of all afghan people. the u.s. has condemned the killing. a taliban spokesperson said they hired the gunman and he was punished for all of his wrongdoings. leon panetta with no comments about the military role in the middle east saying the u.s. will have an enduring presence for many years. panetta was making remarks during his first visit to iraq as pentagon chief where he met with nuri al maliki yesterday. just one of several issues he's tackling during his trip. here's chief pentagon correspondent traveling with the defense secretary. >> reporter: the new secretary of defense leon panetta was troubled by the landscape below. u.s. forces said to withdraw by the end of the year are caught up in a war. 15 americans killed in the past month by iraqi extremists armed with rockets and roadside bombs supply by iran. panetta told a gathering of soldiers the killing must end. >> my first responsibility as secretary of defense is to make damned sure we do everything necessary to protect you. >> reporter: panetta pressured iraq's top officials to send iraqi military force
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